What is Cryotherapy and How Does it Work?

what is cryotherapy and how does it work

Cold therapy is becoming quite popular but do you really know what is Cryotherapy?

Advancements in modern technology have opened new avenues for medical treatment for us. Cryotherapy is a new form of therapeutic treatment which involves the use of sub-freezing temperatures to destroy and heal abnormal tissue. When abnormal tissues are subjected to very cold temperatures, they cannot continue with their normal activities and die. Cryotherapy is used for treating cancerous cells and tumors

In order to achieve below-freezing temperatures, nitrogen or argon gases are used. The body is immersed in these cold temperatures to attain the therapeutic effect. It is also known as cold therapy or cryoablation. 

Types of Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy can be used locally to target specific body parts or it can be used for the entire body. Localized cryotherapy may use the following methods to achieve the cooling effect for a specific targeted body part:

  • Ice packs
  • Ice massages
  • Coolant sprays
  • Ice baths
  • Special probs that act on a specific area of the body

Whole Body Cryotherapy

Unlike localized cryotherapy, this type of cryotherapy involves subjecting the entire body to extremely cold temperatures. Whole-body cryotherapy stimulates the body. The patient sits in a cryo-chamber for two to five minutes. The cryo-chamber is a small room that is filled with liquid nitrogen gas. The temperatures go as down as -100 to -140 degrees celsius. 

To get the maximum benefit, patients wear minimal clothing in the cryo-chamber. The clothing may include:

  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Underwear
  • Headband
  • Ear, nose, and mouth muffs

Whole-body cryotherapy can relieve chronic pain which may be caused due to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or muscular pain in general. Other conditions such as frozen shoulder, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, ligament strains, psoriasis, and eczema can also be treated through whole body cryotherapy. This type of procedure uses temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius to get the desired results. 

What Are The Different Methods of Cryotherapy 

Cryotherapy is used for treating tissues both internally and externally. Application of cryotherapy can be divided into the following methods:

  • External cryotherapy: this is used to heal external injuries and deformities such as muscular injuries or wrinkles. This method involves the external application of a freezing agent at the site of the injury with the help of a spraying device or cotton swab. By doing so, the frozen skin starts to blister and peel off. New skin comes out and the skin is rejuvenated. 
  • Internal cryotherapy: this treats internal abnormalities like precancerous cells or tumors. Internal cryotherapy involves the use of a cryoprobe. It is a precise instrument that generates cold temperatures to freeze the cells inside. An incision is made in the skin and a cryoprobe is inserted inside the skin. It works by freezing the abnormal cells which then die out. Dead abnormal cells are cleared out by our immune system.  

Internal cryotherapy may involve the use of local or general anesthesia, depending upon the location of abnormal cells. Ultrasound imaging may also be used to detect the correct location of the abnormal cells and to monitor where the probe will go.  

How should I Prepare for Cryotherapy?

External cryotherapy is a non-invasive procedure that does not require any special preparations. For internal cryotherapy, you may need to take the following precautions:

  • Temporarily stop the use of certain medicines such as aspirin and other blood thinners. 
  • Regulating your food consumption
  • Inability to drive yourself so you may require someone to drive you home after the procedure

This information is brought to you by UCryo & Recovery. They offer top-notch cryotherapy services.